Domestic Violence in Ghana: Incidence, Attitudes, Determinants and Consequences

Published on 29 July 2016

This report discusses the main findings of the incidence, determinants and consequences of domestic violence, attitudes towards domestic violence and the effectiveness of services that support women and men who experience domestic violence in Ghana. The study was commissioned by the Domestic Violence Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) of the Government of Ghana and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and funded by UK aid.

Domestic violence, in the form of physical or sexual violence, is experienced by 35 per cent of women globally during their lifetime. Emotional abuse and controlling behaviour is experienced by 75 per cent of women across the world. It is also acknowledged that men experience domestic violence. Nationally representative statistics on the incidence of domestic violence are, however, hard to come by.

This study represents a comprehensive attempt to estimate the incidence of domestic violence in Ghana, and analyse the attitudes that sustain domestic violence, its determinants and its consequences. The study estimates that 28 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men experienced domestic violence in 2015.

Domestic violence causes immediate devastating consequences to those affected: physical injuries, mental health problems and poor well-being, to name but a few. But it also has long-term, far-reaching effects, including persistent inequalities between men and women, which limit women and girls’ abilities to fulfil their potential. Those who experience domestic violence have longer-term poor physical and mental health, higher risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and restricted choices in terms of accessing education and jobs. It is also likely that they will have lower levels of education, income and productivity. These consequences are not only life-changing for the women and men concerned, but also for their families, communities and wider societies, as gender inequalities become entrenched.



Patricia Justino

Professorial Fellow

Alia Aghajanian

Postgraduate Researcher

Marinella Leone

Research Fellow

Rebecca Mitchell

Postgraduate Researcher and Programme Manager

Pauline Oosterhoff

Research Fellow

Jean-Pierre Tranchant

Research Fellow

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Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) and Associates


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